ION INDIE MAGAZINE September 2014, Volume 4 - Page 67

By DJ RTFX Well, Now that you caught my initial RANT on Pay to Play last month, this one should come as no surprise. With the explosion and the importance of the Independent music scene, comes with it a bunch of media entities who want to capitalize on this growing phenomena. One of my old CEO's use to tell me to always keep two streams of revenue going to support the company. Always go after the big hit, but have another stream of lower contract customers to keep constant inflow of business. The Independent music scene has become just that for numerous media companies and entities who are cashing in on the current wave of popularity. Here is where they fall short--they use artists as a stop gap for income in-between bigger contracts, and in no way do they ever give the same deal they would to Indies as opposed to a B level National who are doing current club tours. This happens especially with merch sales. My best advice on this is, when someone comes up to you and tells you about "their" merch company and how great they are, it is probably a person acting as a third party to skim off YOU, the artists--and mark-up the prices accordingly. As Creative Director for an event company for over 24 years, there are few output services whom I put my trust in, but those I do, are on time, on price, with an amazing product. NOW, I have recently dipped my toes into the area of the "INDEPENDENT MERCH COMPANIES" and I can tell you this--a bunch are NOT client centric and they have a substandard product. I will give you the names next month of those who I feel are people you SHOULD be working with. So when it comes to a MERCH company, be very careful and make sure you get the best value. Remember…your music will sell your band, but you are creating a BRAND. Branding advice to artists: Stay consistent. I see so many artists change and change again, the look and feel of Social pages and packaging. One of my old companies used to do this and never ever built a brand. Know what happened to that 20 million dollar company? It closed its doors after two years! All of my suggestions fell upon deaf, penny-pinching ears. To keep yourself relevant you don't have to change your brand, just the information surrounding it. And keep your message consistent across all points of media. This is what people look for--stability. They want to know you’re not here today and gone tomorrow, especially after donating to your starter campaign. DON’T BUY ‘LIKES’! Kraft Foods did this to launch a product about 4 years back, and what ripped in the press and the product line died on the vine, costing Kraft millions in development dollars. So take a page from them on what NOT TO DO. You will be found out and called out--and your project will die on the vine! Stones are always put in our pathway so we know which ones in the future to avoid and which ones to bend down and carry with us the rest of our journey.